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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 June 8 - 14  > Asbestos victims sue construction material makers refusing to join compensation fund
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2022 June 8 - 14 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Asbestos victims sue construction material makers refusing to join compensation fund

June 8, 2022

Former construction workers who developed ill-health due to exposure to asbestos together with bereaved families on June 7 filed lawsuits against construction material makers, urging them to contribute to a relief fund for asbestos victims.

The number of plaintiffs has now reached 190. In their court battle, which was launched in 10 district courts across Japan, including in Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka, the plaintiffs also seek to win payment of 3.9 billion yen in compensation from defendant corporations.

In May 2021, the Supreme Court in the previous 10-year-long legal battle against the government and construction material makers issued a ruling recognizing that the state and makers should be held responsible for health damages to workers caused by exposure to asbestos at construction sites. Following this court ruling, a law was established to set up a relief fund for the provision of up to 1.3 million yen in cash benefits to all asbestos victims, including those who did not bring their cases to court.

In January this year, the law came into effect and the payment of cash benefits from the relief fund began. Under the law, the fund should have been established jointly by the government and building material companies. However, building materials companies have so far refused to contribute to the fund.

In Tokyo, the plaintiffs’ group, its legal team, and their supporters held a rally after the filing.

Lawyer Inoue Satoshi, who co-heads the plaintiffs’ legal team, pointed out, “It is unacceptable for construction material makers to ignore the top court ruling and turn their backs on providing compensation through the relief fund.”

Inoue stressed that a major goal of the newly-filed lawsuits is to revise the current law in order to force building material manufacturers to make contributions to the relief fund. He said, “Let us work hard to increase public support for our court battle!”

Past related article:
> Bill to provide compensation benefits to asbestos victims unanimously enacted [May 18 & 19, 2021]
> Agreement concluded between plaintiffs and government in construction asbestos lawsuits [June 10, 2021]

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